Students Win Gold at Collegiate Inventors Competition® Through Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Breakthroughs

Collegiate Inventors Competition® Announces 2016 Graduate and Undergraduate Winners


ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — From at-home therapeutic drug administration to engineered biological particles that degrade residual crop pesticides – the inventions and innovations presented at the Collegiate Inventors Competition are a true representation of the future of science, medicine, engineering, technology, and health advancements.  After an intense and exciting deliberation among an expert panel of judges, the 2016 Graduate and Undergraduate student winners have been selected.

“The Collegiate Inventors Competition pushes these young minds to think outside of the box,” said Victor Lawrence, 2016 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee and Collegiate Inventors Competition Judge. “I was glad to see their inventions, as they truly gave a glimpse into the innovative future of our country.”

The Collegiate Inventors Competition is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Presenting Sponsors of the event include the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and AbbVie Foundation, with additional support from Arrow Electronics.

“We’re very proud to showcase and celebrate the passion and dedication of the greatest collegiate inventors through our partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” said Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “The research and inventions of these students advance the future of United States’ innovation as well as broaden awareness of the critical role of intellectual property in the 21st century global economy.”

11 Finalist teams (six Graduate and five Undergraduate), consisting of 28 students from 10 universities and colleges across the United States advanced to the Final Round of Judging in the Collegiate Inventors Competition, hosted by the USPTO.

“We look forward to the Collegiate Inventors Competition every year, as it’s a chance to celebrate students who are committed to bringing their original ideas to life,” said Mike Oister, National Inventors Hall of Fame CEO. “Innovation can emerge from any course, any university, and any student, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition brings together this wide-spread inventive spirit.”

2016 Collegiate Inventors Competition Winners

The Graduate gold winner, Carl Schoellhammer, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was awarded $10,000 for his invention of SuonoCalm, which is used for at-home rapid administration of medications directly into tissue using low-frequency ultrasound.

The Undergraduate gold winners, Payam Pourtaheri and Ameer Shakeel, from the University of Virginia, were awarded $10,000 for their invention, AgroSpheres, which are engineered biological particles that degrade residual pesticides on the surface of plants, allowing crops to be safely harvested after just a few hours.

In the Graduate category, the silver winners, who received $5,000, were Brendan Donoghue, Erin Keaney, and Jonathan Perez de Alderete, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell for their invention of Nonspec, an adjustable prosthetic system. Bronze winners, Aaron Blanchard and Kevin Yehl, from Emory University, received $2,500 for their invention of Rolosense, a new class of DNA machinery that turns chemical energy into rolling motion.

In the Undergraduate category, the silver winners, who received $5,000, were Aonnicha Burapachaisri, Charles Pan, Aishwarya Raja, and Chanond Sophonpanich, from Columbia University, for their invention of Cathecare, which is used to continually and automatically sterilize the hub of catheters to stop infections in their tracks. Bronze winners, Clarisse Hu, Sarah Lee, Bailey Surtees, and Serena Thomas, from Johns Hopkins University, received $2,500 for their invention of Cryoablation, which offers a promising option for women in low- to middle-income countries diagnosed with breast cancer, as it freezes a probe that kills tumor cells using carbon dioxide gas.

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About the Collegiate Inventors Competition
For 25 years, the Collegiate Inventors Competition (as part of the National Inventors Hall of Fame) has recognized and rewarded Graduate and Undergraduate students who are committed to research, discovery, invention, and innovation as they address the problems of today’s world. The Competition specifically recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced in 1990, the Competition has awarded more than $1 million to winning students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors.

About the National Inventors Hall of Fame:
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but also to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and challenging collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To date, NIHF has served over 1 MILLION children and 125,000 educators and interns, and awarded more than $1 million to winning college students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors.